I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to quite a few places. However, most of that travel has been in the past 3 years. Before that, I didn’t have the means to go anywhere beyond a weekend trip to the next city over, if that.
It’s pretty elitist to say that the only way to change your mindset is to travel the world, and that if you haven’t, your life is significantly worse than someone who has traveled. I’m not here for that. If you have the means to travel and enjoy it, absolutely do it. But realistically, travel requires money, a job that allows you time off (most likely paid), the ability to leave home behind for a while, and living in a place that allows you to access all of these things.
I want to impress on you not how important physical travel is, but what I like the call the travel mindset. A travel mindset only requires your willingness to leave your comfort zone, to examine your life as if you were an outsider, the imagination to keep your heart open, and the courage to start. Even if you are broke with no hope of going anywhere anytime soon, you can be in this mindset.
Leave behind the day-to-day grind even for only 5 minutes to seek out the things that set your soul on fire.
10 Ways to Get into your Traveling Mindset
- Read a book about a place you want to visit someday. Fall in love with it, immerse yourself in that world, imagine yourself there.
- Follow marginalized voices on social media: anyone that is different than you. If something they say makes you feel uncomfortable, ask yourself why and examine your own values.
- Visit a place near you that you’ve never been to before. This could be a national park, a new restaurant, or even just a new street in your neighborhood. Take your time there to really experience how it makes you feel to be out of your usual spaces.
- Talk to a stranger. As an introvert, this one always terrified me. But do it! Ask them about their lives, where they’re from, what that place is like, etc.
- Meditate. You can do this guided or you can close your eyes and daydream about a place you want to go someday. Picture yourself there. What’s the weather like? Is it crowded? A deserted beach? What can you smell? How do you feel when you’re there?
- Try a new type of food. Even small towns usually have a restaurant or a section in the grocery store you haven’t explored yet. Pick up that weird-looking sauce or that dish you never thought you’d try.
- Go outside. Take a deep breath. Look at where the sky meets the horizon. I bet someone way out there wants to travel to where you are someday. Feel that connection.
- Rearrange the furniture in a room in your house. This can be for keeps or just for a little while. Change your perspective on where you’ve become comfortable.
- Get a piece of paper out and plan a whole vacation. Money is no object. Just write down where you want to go and what you want to do there. Doodles are encouraged.
- Go to a public place and people watch. The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows created the word sonder: the realization that each passerby has a life as vivid as your own. Imagine those lives. Where did they come from? What do they do for a living? Are they married? What is their life’s work? Be as specific as you want; it’s all in your head after all.
Stay curious. Stay open. One day your time to uproot and travel across the ocean will come. Until then, don’t let that stop you from staying in your traveling mindset whenever you worry about being stuck. There’s more than one way to grow.